Sunday, November 07, 2010

Baby Please Don't Go

Fragments of dreams, thoughts, imaginings….

“What do you expect of me?” Voices were raised. I could hear from behind the closed door, but always it would end the same way. One or the other would walk out and take off. High drama in an Italian family.

A few hours, or days later, there would be a truce. A semi-resolution for the sake of the kids. And life would go back to normal. For a while.

And then there would be the pasta, too long cooked, or the sauce that didn’t have the onions properly strained. Or there would be too much pepper. Or not enough salt. Or the bacon wasn’t crisp. Or the hash browns weren’t brown enough. Or the fish was too limp, the sausage too firm. And on and on it would go like this, all through many Italian-American households, in the days after the war.

It’s amazing how any of us grew up to like food and wine.

Or was it just an isolated experience, imagined, as many things of childhood are?

A recent dream sequence. An Italian, nattily attired. Nice tie, custom suit, shoes, glasses, cufflinks. Million-dollar package. He is in a receiving line. He breaks out of the line, approaches me, whispers in my ear, “I told you I would win, you sonofabitch. Look at me now. And there's nothing you can do to take it away.” And he goes back to the receiving line.

A couple pulls away from a restaurant in an exotic Italian sports car. They have been drinking red wine, all night. As they peel away, I wonder if they will make it home. And then I think to myself, “I just hope they don’t hurt anyone else, I don’t care if they die.” And I go back into the bar and order a Cynar. Up. No ice.

A fancy New Yorker and his fancy new body, courtesy of a fancy bariatric procedure. Has a new lease on life. Appears on television. Gets a huge book deal. Seen in the corner of my eye, at a recent event, he was frowning. What was the matter? Was the bacon too crisp?

A young couple walks into a wine shop with a flyer for Italian wines. The flyer has wines that are exclusive to a shop which is thousands of miles away. “We don’t care, we just want something similar. we want something good. Italian wines are so confusing.” So we walk over to the rack, grab a Barbera for the risotto with porcini, a Montepulciano for the pizza with red sauce and a Brunello, just because. Just then a man walks up and asks if Brunello wines are cabernets. Now, I am confused and walk over to a shelf where there are marrons glac├ęs, just arrived, tear open a package and eat three. And order an espresso. I didn’t answer the question.

A friend at a wedding in San Antonio, messages me,” What are the grapes these Sicilian wines are made from?” I try to determine the winery. After many Googles, I finally find out. I go to their site. The site is controlled by the Flash-protocol. I cannot maneuver through the site, without following some stupid course. When I finally get to the area where I think the information is they don’t have a tech sheet. I just wasted ten minutes. I will never buy or recommend that wine until they change their ridiculous web site. I don't care how sexy the owner is.

An Italian restaurateur calls me up, wanting the cell phone of the local restaurant critic. I tell them I don’t know. They tell me they know I know. They want the review retracted. I ask them if their business was affected by the review. They say, no, it’s better than ever; all their friends have come out in support of them. I tell them to count their blessings and hang up the phone and go back into the kitchen.

And so it goes, in my imagination, in my dreams, and in the day-to-day comings of goings on the wine trail in Italy.

Move along now, there's nothing to see here.

10 comments:

A.M. said...

Great post. Beautiful images, that is, the textual and the photos of the pomegranate seeds.

Raised voices and someone taking off--I can relate. In the Italian-American household I was raised in this scene usually played itself out at the dinner table.

Still wondering which fragments were dreamt.

Marco Savuto said...

Wasn't it red pomegranate seeds that Hades gave Persephone as a condition for her return to the light of day?

ablegrape said...

Great post, Alfonso. Loved the imagery.

(...as an aside, my marketing department will kill me if I don't mention that Able Grape exists to make finding the varieties in that Sicilian wine a much easier task than on Google. There are even some "power user" tricks: you can add the word "anyvariety" to your search to use as a "wildcard" to match the name of any grape variety. Often this means the answer to "what grapes are in this" is right in the abstract on the search page, so you don't even have to click through to some producer's annoying website. Here's an example with Terre Nere Etna Rosso.
I know that was just a dream, but, well, just a little... too... real. Send me all of your toughest "this was a pain to find on the internet" challenges and I'll use these to make Able Grape even better... )

Do Bianchi said...

@Marco I like where you're going with that... more please...

@Alfonso meeting my cousin Marty has been a revelation for me: he's the only other person, blood-related, who has a "real" palate for food and wine... who knew?

Alfonso Cevola said...

Thanks, Doug! That worked well. Now if we can just convince the italians to get off of the Flash platform, which works, at best, slowly on a desktop or laptop, and on a Blackberry or IPhone, fughettaboutit

Mattie John Bamman said...

LOVE the photos. I just took some shots at the winery that remind me of these. I was shooting grapes floating in mostly fermented wine. The pomegranate really captures the ruby-red heart of gummy bear fire.

Marco Prosecco DOCG said...

DrJ, as you know, it all started in Enna Sicilia where Demeter lost her daughter Persephone while picking narcissus. After some intercession, Hades tells Persephone to return to her mother, but first he secretly puts a pomegranate seed in her mouth. She can then spend 9 months in the world of the living and 3 in Hades. Someone has pointed out that this ratio is the same as our waking vs. sleeping hrs. At least a third of life seems to belong to Hades. Lost friends, failed hopes, endeavors...

Thomas said...

I. Hate. Flash.

tasteofbeirut said...

I am in awe of your writing talent I was really imagining the scene/ great post.

Marco Lago di Pergusa said...

@2B I will try to elaborate on this on my hibernating blog.

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